Animals inside and outside your house can damage your property and your yard extensively, so spending a few dollars now can pay off in the long run. Animals can chew through electrical cables, which can cause a fire, and plumbing pipes can also be chewed through, causing damage from a flood.
A few months ago, I had some damage caused by a family of raccoons that had gotten into my house. I had to get them removed with the help of a local animal removal company. Unfortunately, before they had a chance to remove them, they had caused extensive damage to the insulation in my roof.
I have since started animal-proofing my house. Although I live in an area with many animals, these techniques and products can be used to protect any home.
Before using these techniques and products, ensure the animals have left or been removed from your property. Please get in touch with your local humane animal expert if you cannot do this yourself.
- Without using a ladder, binoculars can help you see parts of your property, such as the roof, vents, and siding.
- Flashlight – Helps you see in the dark, helpful for when up in the loft. Most smartphones have a flashlight on them.
- Camera – Again, most smartphones will serve your purpose here. A camera can record cracks, holes, or vents that need to be sealed.
- Ground – Check for any burrows under sheds or outbuildings and look for signs of animal activity. Check all pipe entrances and where cables such as TV or cable aerials enter the property.
- Roof – Look for any cracks or holes that animals can get in. Look for holes in the top, siding that has warped from the weather, or trims pulled away from the wall.
- Loft – Using the flashlight, inspect the attic for signs of animals. Droppings, nesting material, and chewed furnishings are a tell-tale giveaway. If bats are present, you may notice pellets on the ground of the loft. Check any exhaust vents and the intersections of the roof and the trim. Exhaust vents can be covered with an exhaust vent to stop larger animals, such as raccoons, from entering your home.
Seal Up Any Burrows
It is best to fill the hole if you notice any burrows in your yard under your decking or shed. Use a mix of sand and water to fill the void. Once the mixture reaches the top of the burrow, then you can move on to the next one.
Depending on the animal, caves can be from two feet deep and may need quite a large mixture. If you do not have any sand, you can use dirt to fill the hole. If you have some cement lying around, you can put a layer of glue on top.
I was told the raccoons had gotten into my attic by using an air vent I have on the side of the house. Although the damage had been done to my house, I wanted to ensure that it did not happen again.
I purchased a vent guard that covered the air vent. The vent guard is great for keeping out all small mammals, from raccoons, bats, squirrels, and even little mice.
The vent guard took me less than ten minutes to install, but if this is not something you can do, your local wildlife professional can help. The guard was light to carry up the ladder but seemed very strong. I haven’t had any more raccoons on the property, so I think this is money well spent.
Trash Can Lock
Trash cans are an essential food source for many animals in urban and suburban areas. Securing your trash can is one of the first pieces of animal proofing that you should do to stop animals from coming into your yard and, potentially, your home.
You can use lock straps to secure the trash can. They usually have a quick-release system allowing you to get into your trash quickly, and so far, they have stopped every raccoon and squirrel from spilling my trash. I use these from Amazon as they fit my garbage can perfectly.
Rodent Proofing Your Home
Rodents such as mice and rats can get through tiny gaps in your property. Any cracks or holes larger than 1/4 inch need to be repaired to stop them from getting in. Hardware cloth is perfect and can be used for any small holes.
Rodents such as rats and mice can cause lots of damage to the house. Besides the diseases and parasites they carry, potentially deadly to humans, they can also cause other health issues.
Mouse urine, which can trigger allergies, has been found in 35% of homes. Mouse droppings can also cause allergies, and mouse allergens cause asthma in adults and children.
Mice reproduce very quickly, with a female giving birth to a litter of up to fourteen at a time, with an average pregnancy time of 20 days. In a short time, mice and rats can overrun your house.
They may still be there even if you have never seen a mouse or rat in your home. With them being able to get through such small holes, filling these gaps should be an essential part of your home maintenance.
Bird feeders can attract not only many birds into your yard but also many unwanted animals. I have just purchased a new bird feeder because I was sure that my old bird feeder caused the raccoons to come near my home.
I use a large bird feeder with a twelve-pound (two gallons) capacity for food, but it also has an excellent mechanism for keeping larger animals such as squirrels and raccoons out.
The bird feeder I use has a weight setting that allows you to adjust the perch. This will enable you to set it to a weight that larger animals are too heavy for. By doing this, when the raccoon or squirrel sits on the feeder, the mechanism closes the bird feeder, stopping them from getting at the food. You can get this bird feeder on Amazon.
Stopping Animals From Ruining Your Garden Plants
Animals are attracted to fruit and vegetables and will rip up plants to get to them. The best way to protect your plants is a chicken wire cloche.
These are an ideal way to animal-proof your favorite plants. Rabbits, squirrels, and other small animals will no longer get to the plant as they are protected under a cloche of chicken wire.
I use these in my garden to protect animals and birds from my plants. They cover medium to large size flower pots and have been sturdy with some strong winds we have been having in my area.
Animal-proofing your home is essential to keep small and medium-sized animals out of your house and away from your plants. I use all of these items and can recommend them all. Since I have kept the maintenance in better shape, I have seen no more raccoons in my house or yard.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.